Should a first date be cheap?

There is an old rule that the gentleman should pay for the first date. This can be perceived as chivalrous but it can also backfire.

There are better ways to spend money on your first date. Here are some tips to help you keep the cost down. Skip the restaurant and go for a drink instead.

1. Don’t go overboard

Giddiness on a first date doesn’t read as enthusiasm, it reads as anxiety. It’s a sign that you’re uncomfortable and can’t control your behavior.

It’s fine to share enough information to build trust and show your personality, but don’t go overboard. Oversharing can be off-putting to your date. Save the details of your ex-lovers, or how you ended up naked in jail last night, for later.

Nothing sucks more than spending too much and then realizing you have no connection with your date. Plus, it sets a bad tone for future dates. Avoid all-you-can-eat restaurants and splurge on drinks, instead. A nice bottle of wine can cost a fraction of what you’d pay in a restaurant and taste just as good. If you’re worried about awkward silences, try watching a film together.

2. Don’t splurge on dinner

It’s a good idea to avoid expensive dates on first dates. It’s hard to connect over an expensive meal. Instead, try an activity date. A nice hike, wine tasting or ice skating are all fun ways to spend time together without breaking the bank.

In addition, you’ll learn more about your date by discussing their favorite hobby. Talking about TV shows, dishes on their favorite foods or books that they love to read can help you bond with them. It’s also a great way to break the ice, as they’ll feel comfortable sharing their passions with you. Plus, it’s cheaper than trying to impress them with a swanky dinner.

3. Don’t overdo it on drinks

Giddiness doesn’t read as enthusiasm on a first date; it comes across more like anxiety. It’s also not fair to your date, especially if they’re the one feeling the sting of the bill.

Drinking can help break the ice and promote social bonding, but don’t get carried away. Having too many drinks can lead to your date wanting to take a long walk, go home early, or simply become irritable.

While some women like chivalry and appreciate their dates paying for them, many others don’t. It’s best to be honest about what kind of budget you’re comfortable with before a date starts so there are no surprises. In addition, splitting the bill can help remove gendered expectations about who should pay for a date.

4. Don’t go overboard on entertainment

Trying to impress on your first date by taking her out to a swank restaurant or arranging for a flock of doves to emerge from your Uber is a little over the top. While some may consider it a form of chivalry, this can come off as arrogant and it’s also a bad habit to start.

Besides, the goal of a first date is to get to know the person better. The last thing you want is a distraction that takes away from the conversation.

A cheap first date can be just as fun and interesting as a pricey one. Try a simple outing such as coffee or ice cream instead of something extravagant. Even a walk in the park is a great way to connect with your date.

5. Don’t go overboard on gifts

While it’s nice to show your date that you care about her by giving her a gift, don’t go overboard. Expensive gifts are not needed to impress a potential partner and they may be seen as an indication of egotism, rather than a true act of generosity.

If you’re unsure about what to spend, break out the bank statements and calculate how much you can comfortably spend on a first date. Then subtract a little extra to give yourself some wiggle room in case you end up blowing your budget. It’s better to have a bit of money left over after a bad date than to eat off the Dollar Menu for a week!